A.U.P - Chapter 188
C188: King of the Dark Path (3)
Thanks for pointing out my mistake at the end of c187 in the comments. After double checking I discovered one more mistake a few rows before it and after fixing them both the text makes way more sense.
At the same time Trina was talking to Rudger in the slums Casey, who received an artifact from Trina, returned to her rented house.
She wanted to talk to Trina if she could, but Casey had something to do.
“Ugh. Casey, please clean up your room! It’s like a pigpen!”
The house they lived in this time was too large for just two people, Casey and Betty, but it was only a few weeks.
Her room was so messy that it was hard to find a place to step thanks to Casey, who collected all sorts of things paranoidly. It wouldn’t matter if it was organized well because there were things anywhere.
“You said you’d do it everyday, but you don’t!”
Betty finally couldn’t stand it and started cleaning. Of course, even if she organized the room it would be restored to its original state after a week, but she couldn’t quit even though she knew it.
“Casey should thank me. If it wasn’t for a great partner like me, there would be no one to take care of Casey.”
Betty grumbles and starts organizing while Casey ignores Betty’s words and approaches one wall. There was a map of Leathervelk on it. Above the map a newspaper article cut out was pinned to the tack and there were countless threads that followed the tack.
Casey clipped an article about Silver Sun from today’s paper and pinned it to one side of the map. After connecting the thread related to the slum, she bounced it once with her fingertips.
Looking at the trembling thread, she folded her arms.
The map of Leathervelk was filled with a web of threads and Casey stared at the map as if she had fallen into her own world.
‘Recently, there have been strange incidents in Leathervelk.’
Until just last year, Leathervelk had no major problems but many things have happened this year.
The werewolf incident, an abandoned factory was burned, the attack on the Kunst auction house, the resurrection of the Beast of Gévaudan, the appearance of the Black Dawn Society.
‘And the disappearance of Silver Sun.’
As for the suspect, the slum side was the most likely.
It is said that the slums are undergoing tremendous changes recently but Casey didn’t check it herself because she only heard it, but the rumors are going around for no reason.
‘I’m sure Trina went there to check.’
Casey carefully placed the artifact she had brought on one desk, recalling Trina.
The artifact cracked with a squeak, revealing the mana stone that was inside. Casey glanced at the mana stone and took a separate white sheet of paper that surrounded it.
‘Key item that is related to memory storming.’
The name hasn’t been decided yet, but she knew it wasn’t an ordinary thing.
‘To think of making something like this out of the bark of an elven tree that can only be found in the elves’ forest.’
Should she say that the magicians of the New Tower are great or reckless by thinking of getting trees from the elves who love nature more than anyone else?
But that kind of challenging spirit created a new artifact.
According to the rumors, there was no problem as it was said that they made a deal with the elves who accepted the new culture.
‘I’ll be able to read it using this.’
Casey, who had been looking at the white paper for a while, folded it up and put it in her pocket.
‘Let’s clean up first.’
Casey’s top goal is to track the Black Dawn Society.
She visited the site where Silver Sun disappeared because she thought it might be related to the Black Dawn Society but she found nothing there.
Casey realized the moment she saw the mansion that literally had nothing left, let alone a trace.
—No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find a clue.
Something close to a miracle that surpassed magic happened and even Casey couldn’t do anything about it.
In terms of the results alone, no connection could be found with the Black Dawn Society.
‘Then all that remains is information from the men questioned that day.’
The members of the Black Dawn Society captured the last day of Theon’s Magic Festival.
Through the deal made with Elisa, Casey had the opportunity to question them in person. Of course, the result of the interrogation is not always the answer. In reality, it would be right to say that there wasn’t much gained.
‘Should I say that the secret associations’ members are hard-willed or crazy even if they are low ranks?’
They don’t open their mouths easily, and even if they open their mouths, they say only false information.
‘Besides, physical torture is not my way.’
But Casey drew information from those guys.
Her way was very simple, she just had to ask a question.
‘The element that delivers information to people is not limited to language.’
Eye tremors, breathing, subtle reactions and other little acts could have been a sufficient answer.
Unless they had special training in preparation for this situation, they had no choice but to be obvious. In fact, the third-orders of the Black Dawn Society showed the various reactions she wanted and that was enough for Casey.
Casey put a new map on the empty wall next to the map of Leathervelk.
A neighboring city of medium size, though lacking in comparison to the big city of Leathervelk related to the Black Dawn Society
Casey was suddenly worried.
‘I’m not very happy to fight with a crazy dog.’
Casey, who was a little shaken, recalled James Moriarty, the man wearing a neat suit and flying a black cape behind his back.
‘But I’ll have to do it.’
Didn’t she come all the way here with the determination to chase James Moriarty? On the contrary, she should work harder since she knows that the Black Dawn Society is related to him.
Sooner or later, she’ll have to visit Baltanung.
* * *
Trina had a high opinion of the man named Owner.
He is a man, who has made great progress in the barren land with nothing known as the slums.
Owner was great, not just in a business-related sense. Knowing that Silver Sun disappeared and knowing in advance that she would come she sent a guide.
He must know all the little information in the city and it was clear that he was a person to be wary of.
‘That’s why I used my intent to scare him.’
The man in front of her was indifferent to her murderous intent. Looking at the naturalness felt in his actions, it was clear that he was not acting.
She wanted to open her mouth right away and ask what his identity is. However, asking such a question here was tantamount to admitting that she lost the war of nerves.
Having talked to each other so far, Owner knows the intention of her questions, but he will avoid them or roughly surround them.
‘I can’t believe it, though. When regular knights receive my intent, they are frozen and unable to move.’
But Owner endured it.
‘He’s not an ordinary guy either.’
It was not for nothing that he reigned as a master in this back world.
‘Is he the king of the dark path?’
It would have been easier if he was a villain who illegally accumulated wealth, or a criminal who did anything wrong. She could’ve just pulled out her sword and attacked.
However, according to information from Enya, the man’s business was surprisingly clean so the Nightcrawler Knights couldn’t just appear and use violence against him.
Even though the Nightcrawler Knights do dirtier things than regular knights this was tantamount to undermining the reputation of their order.
‘In addition, he has a strong popularity, so if we touch him everyone around here will turn into an enemy.’
If they touch Owner here, all the people in the slums will fight with their lives on the line.
They are people who have lived without hope until now and if someone would get in the way of their hope one side would have to completely disappear.
“Are you done with your questions?”
“Yes, thank you for your cooperation.”
Trina rose from her seat with a nod. She didn’t have to stay here anymore because she had nothing to do.
“I won’t send you back.”
“I was going to say I don’t need it anyway.”
It was the moment when they tried to back down after exchanging their eyes with each other.
“Leader, are you here? I’d like to ask you a question.”
Alex came in as the door of the reception room, which had been firmly closed, rattled open.
His appearance was unexpected even for Rudger.
Enya, who recognized Alex, called his name.
Alex, who opened the door without thinking, froze when he saw Enya.
Rudger realized he didn’t warn Alex in advance because the Nightcrawler Knights came so suddenly.
“Why are you here?”
Rudger sighed quietly behind his mask at the fact that Alex met his former lover whom he broke up with on bad terms.
* * *
Alex tried to escape but Enya had no intention of letting him go and blocked his way out.
“I have nothing to say.”
“Why are you here? You said you were going back to your hometown.”
Alex closed his mouth at Enya’s words, staring at him. Obviously, he remembered saying that before he broke up with her a long time ago.
Of course it was a lie to force Enya off.
“There’s nothing for you to know.”
For Alex, it was best to speak coldly.
“Didn’t our relationship ended a while ago anyway?”
Enya bit her lip. Her eyes staring at Alex were moist.
Alex’s heart ached at the sight.
Alex was shaken by the appearance of Enya, who was about to shed tears. There’s no way he doesn’t know the emotion in that gaze.
‘You still haven’t forgotten me.’
Enya still had feelings for him.
He still remembered hurting her and leaving. It made him happy and unbearably sad at the same time because now, in this place, he had to hurt her again.
‘If I could raise my hand and wipe the tears from her eyes.’
Could we go back to that time? To those days when we laughed and dreamed of the future.
He stopped his hand because Enya’s gaze at him overlapped with her crying in the past.
Alex laughed to himself.
‘There’s no way I’m qualified to do that.’
It is not anyone but himself who hurt Enya and left her first so he couldn’t beg for forgiveness or be forgiven.
“……Why don’t you go now that you’re done?”
Alex was surprised at himself that he could speak in such a cold tone.
Enya trembled and then nodded.
“You haven’t changed at all.”
Enya’s suppressed voice pierces Alex’s heart. However, Alex desperately endured and did not show it.
At first glance, Enya showed disappointment when she saw Alex like that. Maybe she wanted this guy to be sorry at least a little bit.
“Yeah. I’m sorry to interrupt. Take care.”
Enya left those words and turned her back.
Alex remembered this look. It was a scene from the old times but the difference is that she didn’t shed tears this time.
‘You’ve gotten stronger.’
Unable to resist Alex tried to reach for her back but in the end he didn’t. As Enya disappeared from view, Alex slid down against the wall of the building.
“Ha ha. I’m so ugly.”
How could he reach out his hand while looking at her back as she was about to leave?
He couldn’t face her with such a half-hearted determination.
Even now, he wanted to run to Enya and catch her to tell her that everything he said that day was a lie and that he still had her in his heart.
‘There’s no way I can say it.’
She is a noble and he is a commoner.
Even though they were from the same knight center it wasn’t enough for them to reach the end in this kind of world.
So he had to change it.
He still remembered how that person came to him and reached out to him who was covered in mud.
Hearing the sound of footsteps, he turned his head to find Rudger taking off his mask. Has he finished talking with the leader of the Nightcrawlers?
“Leader, what are you doing here?”
“I’m sorry, Alex. I should have told you in advance.”
“I apologize. It was me who came in without checking. Did you come to comfort me? What’s with the people behind you?”
At those words, he could feel that the presence that was secretly hiding waver and soon, the members of “U.N. Owen” appeared, coughing awkwardly.
Alex smiled at the sight.
“How many people are there? Rumors must have spread all over the neighborhood.”
“Well, there’s no way they don’t know.”
After all, this happened when the Nightcrawler Knights visited. Alex was also convinced of that, so he lowered his head.
“Oh, I can’t keep it a secret since it came this far.”
Alex raised his head with a self-helpful smile and Seridan asked after a glance.
“Was the Nightcrawler knight your ex-lover?”
“That’s right. She was my colleague, comrade, and my first love.”
“If she was your colleague then…..you too.”
Violetta noticed something and Alex shrugged his shoulders.
“Yes, I used to be an aspiring knight, more exactly a cadet of the Empire.”
Hans opened his eyes wide as if he had noticed something.
“Wait a minute. If you were a cadet of the Empire…….”
“Yes, I was a cadet at the Imperial Military Academy, Noble Knights.”
Then he added bitterly.
“More exactly a dishonorable former cadet.”